LESSON 10 – God’s Covenant With Abram – Genesis 11:10-12:9

{Refer to pages 89-100 of Genesis: Finding our Roots for this lesson. This concludes our use of  this book.}

  1. Discussion– This lesson marks a change in the Biblical narrative. Before this the Bible has dealt with the world as a whole. Different men have been mentioned but the history has been the history of all people. Now the narrative will turn to the story of a man and through him, the story of a nation , Israel. In Gen. 12 we are introduced to Abram, who will in chapter 17 be renamed Abraham (more on that later). Abraham is a key character to understanding the Bible. He is mentioned 234 times in the Old Testament and 74 times in the New.
    • Gen. 11:10-32 – This is the record of Shem’s family from the time he left the ark until Abram came on the scene.  It is not necessary to read this portion out loud together. However, there are a few things to point out.  Who is the father of Abram? (11:27) Who are Abram’s brothers? (Nahor and Haran) Who is Lot? (Abram’s nephew – Because of a separation of around 70 years between Abram and his brother Haran, Lot’s father, some Bible scholars speculate that Abram and Lot were probably about the same age.) Who did Abram marry and what is noted about her? (vs. 29, 30; Sarai, she did not have any children) Where did Abram come from? (vs. 28. Ur of the Cahldeas – Have your children find this city on a map from your Bible atlas)
    • Read Gen. 12:1-9 and Acts 7:1-5 (This passage is from a sermon given by Stephen to the Sanhedrin shortly after Christ’s ascension. It helps give the order of events in the Genesis passage.) Where was Abram when God first talked to him? (Acts 7:2 – Ur – Mesopotamia is the name of the region) What commands did God give to Abram? (Gen. 12:1 – 1.  Leave your country, 2. Leave your people, 3. Leave your father’s family, 4. Go to a land that I will show you.) Next, list the promises that God gives Abram. (Gen. 12:2-3)
      • I will make you into a great nation
      • I will bless you
      • I will make your name great (or, I will make you famous)
      • You will be a blessing
      • I will bless those who bless you and curse those that curse you
      • All the people of the world will be blessed through you.
    • What did Abram do? (Genesis 11:31. He left Ur and started to go to Canaan, but stopped at Haran.) Who did he take with him? (Lot, Sarai, his father) Take out the Bible atlas again and look up the location of Haran. Is this city in Canaan? (No. It is 700 miles northwest of Ur, by the Euphrates River, the last outpost before entering the desert on the way to Canaan.) When did Abram leave Haran? (Acts 7:4 – He left when his father died.) Where did he go and who did he take with him this time? (Sarai, Lot, and all of the people that served them) Find the land of Canaan on the map. By what name is this land called today? (Israel and parts of Jordan) When Abram gets there who appears to him? (12:7 – God) God told Abram that he had finally arrived in the Promised Land – the land He would give to Abram’s offspring. What did Abram do? (12:7 – built an altar to sacrifice an animal and praise God) Find Shechem, Bethel, Ai and the Negev on your map.  These are the places that Abram visited on his “tour” of the Promised Land.
  2. Application
    • Gen. 12:2-3 gives what is called the Abrahamic Covenant. Another word for covenant is promise. God sovereignly picked Abraham to receive these very important promises that would become the fulfillment of the promise HE made to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God is now focusing on one man and his descendants. Eventually from the family of Abraham Jesus Christ, the one who would save us all from our sin would come. The note in the Geneva Bible, written in the 1500’s, says it best, “The world shall recover by your seed, which is Christ, the blessing which they lost in Adam.” Through Abraham would come recovery for all people. Ask your children if people all over the world still know who Abraham was? (They most certainly do. In fact Muslims would recognize Abraham’s name more easily than Jesus’!) Are there any parts of God’s promises that have not come true? (No. God has fulfilled them all. The land promised to Israel is not all that is part of Israel today, but that part will be completely fulfilled during the Millenium – or 1000 year reign of Christ on earth in the future.) What can we learn about God’s promises? (He is faithful!) Were any of these promises based on anything Abram did in the past or on what he would do in the future? (Absolutely not. God made this promise to Abram based solely on His own will and it was unconditional.)
    • From your observations of the commands God gave to Abram and what Abram did, how obedient would you say Abram was? (possible answers: not very, partially obedient, etc.) Abram was to leave his country and his family (other than Sarai, of course) and go to the land God promised to him. Instead he went to Haran, which was still in his home country, and took his father and his nephew and all of their possessions and families as well. In your concordance or Bible dictionary look up what Terah’s name means. (It means “delay” or “loiter”) Look up Joshua 24:2. What does this verse tell you about Abram’s father? (that he worshipped idols) Why do you think Abram didn’t do everything God told him to do? (possible answers: He loved his father and didn’t want to leave him, he felt responsible for Lot because Lot’s father was dead, He might have still wanted to worship the idols of his father) Did God appear to Abram when he was in Haran? (No.) Why not? (Abram was in disobedience to God’s commands.) Note that when Abram’s father died, Abram then went on to obey God’s command to leave his country. However, he still took Lot with him.  The consequences of which we will see later on.  While is it understandable to a degree to see why Abram had a hard time doing what God said, God gave those commands for Abram’s good. He needed to be set apart from his old life and follow the Lord with a whole heart, not held back by the sinful beliefs of his father.  When Abram finally comes to Canaan, God appears to him and shows him the land of promise.  What things are holding you and/or your children back from complete obedience to God? Talk to your children about the benefits of complete obedience and trust in God. When we do things our own way or partially obey, we are saying we don’t think God knows what is best for us.  Identify areas of incomplete obedience and remind your children that God did not communicate with Abram until he did what God said. Pray together and tell the Lord that you trust Him completely. Determine to obey completely in every area of life. Be prepared for God’s blessing this week as you do so!
  3. Digging Deeper
    1. Do some research on the city of Ur in Abram’s day.  Bible encyclopedias, Halley’s Bible Handbook, ancient history books or the Net are good places to start.  Write a paragraph about what life was like; be sure to include what archeologists know about the religion there. (Feel free to paste in any pictures of artifacts, etc. from Ur that you found on the Net) Next, write why you think God required Abram to leave Ur based on what you learned.  Lastly, write about what God is calling you “out of”, just like He did Abram. Is there something or someone you need to leave behind? Why? How can you obey God in this area? Give a Bible reference that you can meditate on to help you obey God in this area.
    2. Take each part of the Abrahamic Covenant and write in detail (you may use a chart form for this) evidences of how each has been fulfilled throughout history. Give as many examples as you can think of. (Commentaries will be helpful here.) At the end write how you personally are affected by the promise given to Abraham. Refer to Gal. 3:13-16 and Romans 4:13-25 in your answer.